March 29, 2022

Episode 32: Emotional responsibility

You know that your feelings are created by your thoughts; yet it’s difficult to implement in practice. This is why today we’re looking in details at emotional responsibility so you can reclaim control of the way you feel in any situation.

What you will discover

  • why you think the way you think
  • what happens to the other person when you feel upset about their behavior
  • why validation is like Belgian chocolate
  • 4 amazing consequences of emotional responsibility
  • The 3 questions to instantly improve any difficult relationship


Mixed and produced by Adrien Grenier

Oh yes, and also, the Make Over launches this Friday Apr 01, 2022!

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Episode Transcript

Hi, welcome to the Excellent Rider podcast. I'm Mélanie. I'm a certified life coach and I specialize in helping people like you get things done, find ease and motivation again, and get unstuck when it feels like you've lost your mojo. Today I'd like to thank Nyttnamn in Sweden who left a very kind review on Apple Podcasts.

That person wrote: "authentic, clear and full of practical techniques to apply right away. Not only is Mélanie an authentic, no frills or fuzz kind of life coach, she also has the generosity to dish out free, clear, and practical advice that can be put to use straightaway. Episodes are short and to the point, easy to recap and repeat when needed."

So thank you so much Nyttnamn for taking the time to leave a review. That's really kind, and it gives me a lot of energy for today's episode. I've said it before, and I'm going to repeat it again and again and again on this podcast: your feelings are created by your thoughts. This is why I want to talk about emotional responsibility, which is taking responsibility for the way you feel, because this is not something that is spontaneous.

And even if you understand it intellectually, I want you to really understand what this concept means so that you can really powerfully change your life thanks to it. So your thoughts create your feelings. It means that it's your way to read the situations that you're in - or the behavior of the people that you're with - that creates your feelings.

And the reason I insist is because we all very spontaneously look at the situations that we're in or what other people say or do or don't say or don't do. And it seems so natural to conclude that it's their behavior or it's the specifics of the situation that make us feel the way we feel.

We think it's completely natural to link the way we feel to the behavior of somebody else for example, because that's what we are basically taught by culture, by other people, by language even. And that's what we've been taught throughout our life. So even the English language is built that way. We say this situation drives me mad, or my boss stresses me.

As if a situation actually had the power to create the chemicals that make you feel angry in your body. Or as if a person actually could create the chemicals that make you feel stressed out in your body. That's not the way it works.

And as if also we didn't have a choice. So as if any human who would encounter the same boss would react in exactly the same way or would feel exactly the same way. And we know it's not true. We know that different people don't react the same way in exactly similar situations. You even know that you don't always react exactly the same way.

You don't always feel exactly the same way when you are in very similar situation or sometime the exact same situation. And the reason you're not feeling the same way in similar situations is because your feelings are created by your thoughts, by your mindset, by the story you tell yourself about the situation.

So I'm going to do a few episodes now on the consequences that emotional responsibility has for your relationships and for your life, because it's super important that you really appropriate this concept and you really start to implement it in your life. That's what will make a huge difference to the quality of your life and to your agency and to your power in any situation.

You get to choose your interpretation of any situation and of any person's behavior. You are a hundred percent in charge of deciding how you're going to read any situation that you're in. And it takes a little practice, but it's always possible to find a more useful angle in the situation and by useful, I mean that creates a more useful feeling for you in this situation.

If you're feeling powerless or resentful or confused in a situation: that is not a very useful feeling. It doesn't matter what the situation is. And it doesn't matter what you're trying to do. I can already tell you if you're using this feeling as fuel, you're not going to be as successful as you would like to be in that situation, regardless of what you're trying to do.

It's not your fault that you're thinking the way you spontaneously think. That's the result of the way you've been raised, the culture you're in, your life experience so far. I'm absolutely not accusing you of anything. It's absolutely not your fault that you're thinking this way. But it is your responsibility to change it, to change this way of thinking, because if you don't, no one is going to do it for you.

And in the end, you are the one who experiences in their body, the unpleasant feelings that those not useful thoughts create for you. So I'm going to give you a few examples of what I mean by taking responsibility for your feelings. And then we're going to dig into the consequences that emotional responsibility has for your life.

So let me give you a couple of examples. Let's say that your boss doesn't give you feedback on your work and that they don't even acknowledge the work that you have sent to them by email. You can tell yourself that your work sucks and feel discouraged; or you can believe that no news is good news, and that your boss is the kind of person who says nothing when the work is good and only says something when he's not happy. We all know this kind of person.

So you might not like that he's like that, but you don't have to feel discouraged about your work. If you have this interpretation, you might even feel proud about the quality of your work, who can satisfy this kind of person who is notoriously difficult to satisfy.

So if you are thinking that "no news is good news", and you can actually believe that; well, you're going to have a much better situation than if you're thinking that your work sucks and that's the explanation for the absence of answer from your boss. Or let me give you another example. If your husband relies on you to tell him what to buy at the supermarket, you can think that it's unfair, that you're always the one who has to think about everything and you can feel resentful and full of mistrust.

Or you can think that this is an important topic for you and that you really want him to start to learn how to do that for him by himself. And you're going to do what's needed to get him to take his share of the mental load. So nothing has changed yet in the situation. Nothing has changed in your relationship. Your husband is still not taking responsibility for that.

And yet, look, you are feeling determined instead of feeling resentful. You're feeling empowered instead of feeling powerless. And in terms of being able to influence the situation and influence for example, your husband's behavior in that situation, it is so much more effective. So my point is that you can always choose what you want to think in any situation.

There's always a better thought for any situation. And your job is to find the angle that will make you feel the way you'd like to feel about the situation so that you can be effective in this situation. So if you want to feel better and not be a little cork floating on a sea of intense feelings that are decided by other people or other situations, make sure that you manage your mind and that you decide what you want to think in any situation.

It does take practice and it does take some effort, which is why it can make sense for some people to hire a coach, to help them with that. One of my clients, the other day, was comparing this work of changing your mind to mental pushups; and in a way it's exactly what it feels like to change your mindset.

It's just like pushups. You get used to it. You get better at it and you get stronger at it and you even get to enjoy it. So emotional responsibility means owning the way you feel. Knowing that it's your thoughts that create the feeling you're feeling right now. Knowing that if you don't feel good, it's your responsibility to do something about it.

It's within your power to do something about it. You can change your thoughts. It's possible. It's within reach. And emotional responsibility also means that you know that when you feel good, it's thanks to what you're thinking. Not thanks to the situation or to the person that you're with. Which means that it cannot be taken away from you no matter what happens. I'll take an extreme case.

When someone that you loved died, you can still have entire conversations with them in your head. You can remember great memories with them. You can still feel love and friendship and laugh at old jokes and feel connected with them. It's got nothing to do with whether they're physically with you or not.

So just to notice that it's possible for you to feel good about this person in spite of the fact that there are no longer there. And if it was the situation that was creating your feelings, if you were not in control of your feelings, it means that you would always feel sad once they have left, right? And that's not the case, we know that.

So many of us, when we first hear about emotional responsibility, we want to fight against it. We want to argue and to say, but come on. The person I was speaking to was very rude to me. So of course it's normal that I should feel upset. I was speaking the other day to someone who had been in a meeting with a client who had made some remarks that the they thought were unpleasant about work on which the team had spent two weeks of working late nights and weekends about.

And the person I was speaking with was very upset and they thought that this client should know better and they should be more considerate and they should be more polite, etc, etc. And yeah, maybe. That may very well be so that a person might want to be more careful in their choice of words when they're talking to a team who has spent a lot of time polishing something in the past two weeks.

But the fact is that, in that particular situation, the client was not more considerate and they were not more polite and they expressed themselves the way they expressed themselves. And so the question is, do you want to feel bad when they behave like this? How do you want to feel about it? Because first of all, when you are feeling bad about whatever they said, your client is not feeling the same way. Your client is not feeling your feelings.

So you cannot punish them by feeling those feelings. It's not because you are feeling resentful that they are filled with the unpleasantness of resentment. They keep on thinking whatever they are thinking and feeling whatever they are feeling. And perhaps they're feelin very proud of themselves because they said whatever they said, you don't know; so maybe they are feeling great.

Does the way you're feeling right now, does it feel good in your body? I mean, does outrage or stress or inadequacy or whatever you were feeling in the conversation with the client, does it feel good to you? And wouldn't you like to feel something else, like curiosity or confidence or pride for your work even?

So if you keep on arguing for the fact that the client should have behaved in a different way, if you keep arguing for the fact that other people should behave in a different way or the situation should be different, basically, I want to say it very bluntly - I think I've told you before in this podcast - If you're arguing for your limitations, you get to keep them.

If you really want reality to be different than what it actually is, you're going to fight a long time; because reality is what it is. The client did behave the way they behaved. And it is so much more interesting to learn how to feel okay regardless of whatever happens in reality, than to try to control reality so that reality is always in line with your expectations.

So put your energy in learning how to take responsibility for your own feelings, because that will open doors of happiness and success that you had no idea were possible. And do not give other people the power over how you feel. Especially not a client who you think is rude and who apparently doesn't share the same values as you.

Why would you entrust this kind of person with your precious feelings? Don't do it. So take ownership of your feelings because when you take ownership of your feelings, there's a few consequences, positive consequences. One is that you get to choose the way you feel in any situation, regardless of how other people behave.

The second one is that, because you're creating good feelings for yourself regardless of what other people are doing: you don't need other people's validation to feel good. You can feel good regardless. And if you do get other people's validation on top of the way you're already feeling, it's like getting a delicious chocolate after a good meal.

You're not hungry anymore, so the chocolate is delicious. You can really appreciate it because if you're super hungry for validation, even the most delicious Belgian chocolate, it won't be enough. It will actually be quite frustrating because it won't feed you. But if you've seen to it that you had a good meal, that you create your own validation, that you create your own feelings, the real Belgian chocolate that you're going to get: it becomes a delicious pleasure.

The third consequence of taking ownership for your feelings is that when you feel good, you radiate confidence and that is super attractive for other people. And what happens when you're super attractive to other people is that they start to give you for free all the things that you were begging for before, and that you were not getting.

So people give you validation, people respect your boundaries. People treat you well... It feels like magic. It's really great. And that's the consequences of you taking responsibility for your feelings. And then, a fantastic consequence of taking responsibility for your own feelings is that if you are in charge of your feelings, well, it's the same for other people.

They are in charge for their own feelings, which means that you are not creating other people's feelings with your behavior. They are creating their own feelings with their own thoughts. Which means that you don't need to care anymore for how other people might feel because of your behavior. So hear me well, I am not hereby giving you license to behave as a pig.

I think we should all behave in a good way, but because we want to be the kind of person we want to be. We want to be in line with our own expectations over ourselves. Not because we are trying to manipulate the way other people are going to feel about us.

The other person can feel any way they want about your attitude. And that is out of your control. So these are four fantastic consequences of you taking ownership for your feelings. The first one is that you get to choose the way you feel. The second one is that you don't need other people's validation anymore to feel good.

The third one is that you radiate confidence. And so you start to attract the kind of validation and the kind of support etc. that you wanted. And the fourth one is that you don't need to be in charge of other people's feelings. And this is what we're going to explore in more details in the coming episodes.

We're going to speak about, for example, why we try to control other people's behavior. We're going to talk about how to say no and how to set effective boundaries. We're going to speak about people pleasing. So I'm going to do a few episodes on relationships because that's super important for you to really practice owning your own feelings.

I'm going to stop here for today, but I'm going to leave you first with a few questions that you can use to start to take responsibility for your feelings in whatever situations that you're in. So take a relationship in which you don't feel good. It can be a major relationship. So for example, with your partner, with your boss, with your mother or with a good friend, or it could be a very minor relationship, something that you might not even call a relationship at all, like just an interaction with a stranger.

Maybe you got upset the other day when somebody cut the line in front of you at the supermarket; or maybe somebody pushed you when you were getting off the bus; or something like this. So take one of those situations and then ask yourself, how did you feel in that situation? What was the main feeling - probably unpleasant - that you had in that situation?

And make sure that you're answering a feeling, not a story. So a feeling is a sensation in your body. So for example, sad, excited, disappointed, playful, resentful, grateful, afraid... And if you're not sure what a feeling is, or if you're not sure what feeling exactly you were feeling in that situation, just Google "list of feelings" and take it from there. And then ask yourself, why did I feel like that in that situation?

And the answer to that question is the story you are telling yourself about the situation. So it will probably feel very true to you. It will feel like you're just describing reality. And it might be true, I'm not questioning that, but I'm just saying, this is the angle with which you're choosing right now to look at the situation.

And that angle is creating the unpleasant feeling that you just named. And then the last question is what would you need to believe in the same situation in order to feel good without changing anything to the situation? So the person still pushed you when you got on the bus or the person still cut in front of the line; or your mother still behaved the way she behaved, right?

What would you need to believe in that same exact situation in order to feel good? And when you know how to answer that last question, you're going to be on your way to creating all the success that you want to create in your life. And before we close today, I want to take the opportunity to tell you that if you're interested in testing coaching, I am opening a coaching subscription service, which is called the Make Over.

And we start this Friday, April 1st, and it's no joke, ha ha ha. So what's a subscription service? Well, you can think of it as the Netflix of coaching.

It means that you have access to coaching resources on how to handle tons of different situations and difficulties, which will really open up your mind to possibilities you didn't even think you had in all of those situations where you feel like a fraud, you get angry without even being able to control yourself, where you're overwhelmed, where you're stressed, where you don't know how to say no, you don't know how to decide in a specific situation.. Any of those tough situations, you just name it and there is a solution for you in the Make Over.

As part as the subscription, you also get the possibility to get coached every week if you want to. You have access to a community of like-minded participants with whom you can share and discuss and get cheered on on your journey. And there's also a topic of the month. So I give you a workbook with explanations and a bunch of worksheets so that you can improve your mindset in a specific area.

And in April, the topic of the month is going to be money. So if you want to invite more abundance into your life, and if you want to understand what value you give yourself and how to improve that, you don't want to miss out on this class. The class on money is only available to those who have subscribed in April, and then we're going to move onto the next topic of the month, which will be available to those people who subscribed for the month of May.

So the subscription is just like Netflix. You can cancel your subscription anytime. So we launch on April 1st and there's only going to be 20 spots open for the first month. So go ahead and sign up right now on the waiting list.

If you want to be kept informed and sign up as soon as the membership opens. The launch price is out of this world, and you're not going to find anything of this quality at this price anywhere. This I can guarantee. So you can find all information on So M A K E O V E R make-over is the name of the subscription service.

And I'm going to put the link in the episode homepage. I hope that you found this episode helpful. If you did, and you want to help me reach other people who need to hear this, the best way is to share it. You can tip a friend and you can leave me a review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. And if you want, the transcript is on my website

Thanks a lot for listening today. And remember that even when you can't get yourself to do what you want, even when you're stuck in negative emotions and unpleasant thought loops. And even when you don't believe it, especially when you don't believe it, you're not broken. You're not flawed.

And you're definitely not jinxed. You're just learning how to be an excellent rider. There are no bad horses, only untrained riders.

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